Over the decades, the anti-LGBTQ establishment has used “protecting youth,” marriage equality, military service, and bathroom bills as wedge issues to divide our country, to drive radical anti-LGBTQ folks to the polls, and even to divide our own community. They have largely failed. We’ve made progress. Their current target centers again on our trans siblings, in particular our trans youth with regards to participation in athletics and access to gender-affirming health care. Scores of anti-transgender pieces of legislation are being introduced all across the country.
From Laverne Cox keynoting our Spirit of Stonewall Rally in 2014, to the nearly two decades of our Trans Pride Village at the Pride Festival, to trans performing artists like Jake Zyrus and Kim Petras on our Mainstage, and our transgender veterans and servicemembers leading our Parade, we counteract these divisive and dehumanizing anti-transgender initiatives and narratives by elevating voices, stories, and the exceptional talent of our transgender and nonbinary community.
This week our nation made history as Dr. Rachel Levine became the assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services, making her our nation’s first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate. We need more transgender people in positions of leadership and power. We must continue to invest in our transgender youth and adults to help them excel in the classroom and lead in the board room.
As this organization’s first nonbinary Executive Director, I am honored and privileged to serve as we have expanded our youth leadership development programs and the Tracie Jada Obrien Transgender Student Scholarship Fund, two programs that help to prepare the next generation of trans leaders. This year we will give out 28 scholarships to trans students attending community colleges and Ivy League schools, bringing our grand total to 122 scholarships.
Our collective fight against anti-trans issues and policies doesn’t always mean direct confrontation. (Though we do that too.) It also means showcasing trans-joy, uplifting trans-brilliance, and cultivating generations of trans-excellence. That is how we win the long game of justice for our community. That is how we ensure that our movement is Resilient.
Fernando Zweifach López
San Diego Pride
Learn more & Donate to the Tracie Jada O’Brien Transgender Student Scholarship Fund here.